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To not know what a chav actually is/means?

(71 Posts)
Chocoholism Tue 15-Apr-14 16:31:54

As it says, I first heard this word many years ago and I still don't really know who or what kind if person a chav is? My initial image is the people you mostly see on the Jeremy Kyle show. AIBU or is that right?
Is it now a class or is it a way a person dresses? Apologies if this has been asked before. I haven't debated it ever.

Sparklingbrook Tue 15-Apr-14 17:46:02


Sunnydaysablazeinhope Tue 15-Apr-14 17:47:05

X post with mrs devere! smile

YoureAllABunchOfBastards Tue 15-Apr-14 17:50:10

In the north East, the word Charver has been in use for as long as I can remember - so around 40 years. It comes from Romany 'Chavvi' meaning child, but was always used to describe someone who was a bit rough - often a 'wannabe gypsy'. A significant number of the kids I teach greet each other on FB and by text as 'chavvi' in the same way I would use 'mate'. There is a big travelling community in the area and many of them see the lifestyle as aspirational/glamorous - they did so long before Gypsy Weddings.

Other slang has crossed over - I think 'chor', as in to steal, comes from Romany too, and that is a common word in the area.

MarcusAurelius Tue 15-Apr-14 17:50:17

Chav, as a term, is a bit dated. I've heard them referred to Townies recently. But then I've also heard a group of public school kids referring to each other as "Bredren" on a Suffolk high street.

Language evolves quicker than i do.

ProfessorSkullyMental Tue 15-Apr-14 17:53:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Sparklingbrook Tue 15-Apr-14 17:56:20

So is there any way that regionally people have different understandings?

Alisvolatpropiis Tue 15-Apr-14 18:00:21

I wouldn't think so. "Chav" is just synonymous with their regional word for what chav is now taken to mean.

I know that was probably rhetorical Sparkling, just couldn't help myself grin

ProfessorSkullyMental Tue 15-Apr-14 18:04:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CoffeeTea103 Tue 15-Apr-14 18:07:50

Just sounds like a horrible word.

blackcats73 Tue 15-Apr-14 18:23:34

It's a person who doesn't work, is loud, abusive, anti social and criminal. It is not a working class person, rather a member of the criminal underclass.

In the north east they have been Charvas and Kappa slappas. They were the Twocers (Taking Without the Owner's Consent) who in the 80s wore baseball caps and stole from their neighbours. Feral people. Not poor people, criminals!

OhChristHasRisenFenton Tue 15-Apr-14 18:26:06

It does seem to have many different meanings.

My nieces used it to describe someone wearing Burberry when it was fashionable (who was that Eastenders actress who dressed her and her baby and pram head to toe in it?)

That was a few years ago now and the term isn't really used anymore (round ere anyway)

It does seem to have evolved in to many different things carrying various levels of insult.

supergreenuk Tue 15-Apr-14 18:28:41

It's in the dictionary

a young lower-class person typified by brash and loutish behaviour and the wearing of (real or imitation) designer clothes.

Preciousbane Tue 15-Apr-14 18:39:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

crazynanna Tue 15-Apr-14 18:43:54

I had to review Owen Jones' book 'CHAVS..The demonization of the working class' for an assessment at Uni. It seems to be linked now to the working class, but does not take into account the consumption and consumerism (or lack of) of the working class.(Apparently wink)

mimishimmi Tue 15-Apr-14 23:22:52

Chavale means 'brothers' in Romani as in 'hej romale, hej chavale'. The Hebrew word is similar - chaverim. It has a positive connotation in both cultures. It's only used negatively by people who probably have a dim view of anyone not like themselves - generally meaning they think the person is low class and blingy. Most of them probably wouldn't even be aware of the Romani origins of the word - there's quite a few though like 'cushy' and 'dad'.

BillyBanter Tue 15-Apr-14 23:37:18

My first encounters with the word seemed to involve people from Essex who wore fake burberry, the children of tradesmen who had more money than middle class people but were rather showy with their new found wealth rather than restrained in their style. they went on holiday to the costas or florida rather than camping in France or skiing on a budget!

But it was only something I read about, not experienced myself. I was a bit miffed though as I'd seen fake burberry shoe boots and quite liked them but didn't feel I could buy them because I would look chavvy.

Anyway Owen thingies book is apparently quite good, if you're actually interested rather than just bored in the easter holidays.

manicinsomniac Tue 15-Apr-14 23:50:15

*Chav, as a term, is a bit dated. I've heard them referred to Townies recently. But then I've also heard a group of public school kids referring to each other as "Bredren" on a Suffolk high street.

Language evolves quicker than i do.*

I don't know that this is true tbh. I think it's more a regional thing.

When I was at secondary school (mid 90s-early 00s) in the North West we used the term 'townie' and I had never heard of a 'chav' until I went to university and heard people from the South using the word where I would have used 'townie'. Some people from (I think) the East Midlands used 'pikey' as a third alternative and Scots talked about NEDs (which I heard mean Non Educated Delinquent but I really hope that's not true!).

However, I think the 'townie' label I grew up with had a softer, less offensive meaning that the current use of 'chav'. 'Townies', where I grew up, wore sports clothing or stretchy hipster trousers and skimpy tops. The girls had heavily gelled ponytails with two little bits released to hang down at the sides and wore big hoop earrings. The boys sometimes tucked their trousers into their socks and wore their caps backwards. They liked pop music. In terms of class they were no different really to the rest of their year group. Most of us were either townies or indies (kind of a mild goth?) and it was almost all to do with fashion and music.

'chav' as it is used now if awful.

PortofinoRevisited Wed 16-Apr-14 00:03:50

Owen Jones "Chavs" book is an investigation on how the media and politicians have gathered together in order to demonise the once proud working class of the UK for political ends. I am not particularly lefty, but I think everyone should read this book, along with Wifework, and Delusions of Gender.

Pumpkinette Wed 16-Apr-14 00:22:03

manic the Scottish equivalent is NED (no one uses the word Chav here - or if they do it must be a very recent thing that I don't know about).

NED does stand for non educated delinquent and was used to describe the type of people mentioned in proffesorSkully 's post. The Ned fashion has moved on a bit but still usually involves tracksuits.

Ned's also have a very distinctive way of talking (very nasal on propose) and use words and phrases that most people non 'neddy' people don't. The female neds are overly aggressive and try to start fights with people who are 'looking at them the wrong way' which basically means any type of eye contact even if its accidental.

jambag Wed 16-Apr-14 00:54:27

From the NW I thought 'chav' overtook the term 'scally' - description sounds about the same. The tracky bottoms into the (sports) socks about nails that to me. Haven't heard the word scally in ages, but perhaps around 90's etc was more prevalent

'bredren' made me just about fall off my chair

manicinsomniac Wed 16-Apr-14 01:00:02

I think 'scally' was a little bit south of where I grew up (Liverpool maybe? Manchester too perhaps?) I did hear it a little bit (to describe the extreme advocates of the style I think) but my bit of Cumbria was all about the 'townies' in the 90s.

Pumpkinette - is it considered ok to use the word NED in Scotland or is it offensive?

Nohootingchickenssleeping Wed 16-Apr-14 08:53:37

Yes, Jeremy Kyle fodder. Adults who hang around on street corners drinking in the middle of the day. People who spit, think it's socially acceptable to smoke weed in public places and swear at their young children. Perfectly capeable of working but refuse to because they'd rather earn £60 a week on the dole and shop lift rather than get a job. People who shop at Brighthouse rather than buying second hand.

Fed up of seeing them. It did used to be a proud thing to ne working class, but middle class is the new working class.

usualsuspectt Wed 16-Apr-14 08:57:07

So you think Chav = WC then?

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 16-Apr-14 09:00:11

I'm with the person's gran who equated it to 'common'. Or as my gran would have put it 'fur coat and no knickers'. smile

ProfessorSkullyMental Wed 16-Apr-14 09:00:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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